In the political world, it's common knowledge that there's no better way to achieve success than with lies and money—preferably in a one-two combo. And so it went with last night's citywide election. Well-funded opponents of a proposed municipal minimum wage increase defeated the ballot measure with outright dishonesty: They simply shifted the debate away from the minimum wage entirely.
Because they knew increasing the minimum wage was popular among likely voters they decided to lie through their teeth about the proposed ordinance, making lots of scary, inaccurate claims about how the new law, if passed by voters, would allow anyone to disrupt any business at any time for no reason whatsoever. This was complete and utter bullshit, of course, but the strategy apparently worked. The minimum wage proposal was narrowly defeated by a handful of votes.
Likewise, Martin Chavez made history by becoming the first mayor since the creation of the 1974 City Charter system to nab a second term. He accomplished this by running an admittedly excellent campaign that sucked in money from special interests in quantities Albuquerque has never before witnessed in a mayor's race. Interestingly, most voters didn't want Chavez to remain in the mayor's office. He only got 47 percent of the vote, but it was enough to avoid a run-off.
Kudos to Chavez. Seriously. There isn't a politico in town who plays the game better than he does.
One of the few bright results of last night's election was that a ballot proposal to create a public financing system in future city elections passed by a wide margin. This means that the negative effects of allowing special interest money into municipal elections will be mitigated somewhat next time around.